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Was Stalin about to invade Germany?




No, Josef Stalin wasn’t … at least not in 1941. He had no illusions about how long he could count on the non-aggression pact to delay their inevitable confrontation, but he was hoping it had bought enough time to grab some strategically useful territory (eastern Poland, the Baltic states, part of the Karelian Isthmus and Moldavia) and upgrade the Red Army—whose shortcomings were made clear in the Winter War with Finland—before Adolf Hitler had finished with his activities in Western Europe. Hitler had always had the conquest and subjugation of the “inferior Slavic East” on his mind, and he was keen to attack before Stalin improved things. Only the unwelcome Balkan diversion spent bailing out Benito Mussolini in Greece (and eliminating a British threat from the south) prevented him from invading the Soviet Union sooner.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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